Swedish banks support Arctic drilling with close to SEK 100 billion

14 December 2020

Despite the serious threat from climate change, four major banks in Sweden continue to lend multi-billion sums to companies linked to oil extraction in the Arctic. At the same time, several other of the Swedish major banks have begun to withdraw from oil companies altogether.

Sweden invest a total of SEK 97 billion in investments and loans to companies linked to oil extraction in the Arctic. The majority of the amount consists of loans from SEB, Nordea, Danske Bank and Swedbank totalling SEK 85 billion over the past three years.

"It is remarkable that the banks continue to finance oil companies that extract in the Arctic. If we are to be able to live up to the climate goals and avoid catastrophic climate change, the oil must stay in the ground. The Arctic's environment is also extremely sensitive and an oil spill would be devastating." says Jakob König, project manager at Fair Finance Guide Sweden.

The largest financing totalling SEK 41 billion has been provided to the Norwegian oil company Aker BP, which has several extraction licenses in the Barents Sea near the polar ice and the Bear Island nature reserve south of Svalbard. SEK 25 billion has also been provided to the Swedish company Lundin Energy, which has several production licenses in the Barents Sea and is already test drilling in the area.

SEB invests the most with just under SEK 34 billion, which is also the bank that ranks lowest in this year's FFG Sweden review of banks' sustainability guidelines. Then follows Nordea with approximately SEK 28 billion and Danske Bank with just under SEK 20 billion.

Handelsbanken, Skandia and Länsförsäkringar have not given any loans to the companies in question and have significantly less investments in them. At the beginning of 2020, Handelsbanken decided to divest from almost all fossil fuel companies.

Länsförsäkringar and Skandia have also begun to exclude large oil companies in 2020. However, all large banks lack a policy that prohibits support for oil extraction in the Arctic. Ekobanken and JAK Member Bank say absolutely no to giving loans to all kinds of fossil companies.

"It is of course gratifying that several of the large banks have begun to withdraw from oil extraction. It is now important that SEB, Nordea, Danske Bank and Swedbank listen to their clients and immediately stop supporting this type of business. Extracting oil in the Arctic, which is already hard hit by climate change, is beyond cynical." says Jakob König.

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